|Cut & heal|
Cut the piece you want to root with a clean knife. Place cutting in a moderately cool, dry, shady location to
allow the base to form a scab. This will take 2-3 weeks.
An electric fan
can help dehydrate the end in 24 hours, then let it rest for a couple of
weeks. You just can't put a freshly cut end in soil or it will get
infected with fungus or bacteria spores that are everywhere.
Sterile rooting medium NONSENSE!
Don't do it! Do not try to use a sterile medium like perlite, sand, etc. The "experts say"
you can use sand or vermiculite as a
rooting medium. WRONG! I've witnessed it failing and photos
from customers, too.
Healthy soil contains beneficial
Rot is NOT from soil bacteria unless you made
some really bad stinky (anerobic) compost. Good compost is sweet
smelling humus; the black stuff you find on a forest floor
called "leaf mold" - it has good bacteria.
|Use potting soil
You can mix it
yourself as I show you, or just buy a bag of cactus mix
potting soil. Easy! You may buy a bag of cactus
mix potting soil at a garden center/Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.
Rot is from too much water - you should not
water a cutting until it has roots. Don't use damp potting
soil. And don't tamp down the soil - you want it lightly set
in the soil to allow air circulation. Rot can form in damp,
anerobic (no oxygen) conditions.
Supporting a large cutting
(below) this cutting is named Jules Verne
Short tip vs tall
If you root a tip 6 to 12 inches tall it will easily stand up. But when
rooting 18" to 36" tips support must be provided. Shown at
right is a 24 inch tip held with twine between redwood poles.
One way to hold up a tip
Garden stakes made of 1 inch square, 6 foot long redwood are commonly
sold for use in vegetable gardening. At right are two such pieces used
as supports. Deck screws, 1" long, are driven through the outside of the
pot into the redwood.
Perlite potting soil
Prepared 50% perlite with 50%
garden soil works for
The pot at right was filled about 2/3 of the way, the tip set on in it, then more
so that the tip sets about 3 inches deep. The buried end
will sense that it
is underground and in time sprout
root buds to search for water.
In the picture garden twine was used to
tension the two poles. Doing so pressed gently yet firmly enough to
hold the tip in position.
Or use this product called "Miracle garden tie".
It is a nicely soft, stretchy, but tough plastic ribbon.
How long does it take to root a cutting?
|Gardening is such hard intellectual effort
sometimes; mix dirt, fill pots, stick in cuttings.
|This cutting has been in soil since
October without rooting. Why? Because it was too cold. Notice
how healthy it looks. It just went dormant for the winter and would
not root in cold soil. It never needed water because its stoma
(breathing pores) open at night to get CO2 and H20. It never rotted
because I kept it in dry soil. But now its ready to rocket! Spring
will break that dormancy as the sun shines longer every day and the
soil warms up.
See our friend? We put him back in soil and
on him next month.
I'll bet he has some root buds by then.
|The soil needs to be warm, over 60 degrees or so
to stimulate rooting. Spring time weather is fine for this unless you
live in a cold place; but this is all standard gardening knowledge. You
can't get vegetable seeds to germinate in cold soil either. To start
tomatoes you usually use a soil heating pad, or I've even used cables
you lay in the dirt (for a greenhouse). Most vegetables require 60 to
70 degrees and I guess rooting a cactus isn't much different
You can certainly start rooting your cuttings in the house because that
is warm. Here in California I can root cuttings outdoors from Spring
all through the Summer. By September they slow down and go dormant
around October when it cools off.
You can root in 100% sand if you like. Even 100% vermiculite--but I
have not tried it. I just use 50% soil and perlite. You want to avoid wet,
soggy soil as that will rot the
cutting. Your cutting does not need water to root! No water. Got it? Its a
cactus. It breaths through its stoma (pores) at night to get CO2 and
water vapor. Watering a cutting is dumb--it has no roots to absorb the
moisture. But the soil can be a bit damp; it does not have to be "bone
dry". Don't obsess. Nature will go into automatic mode and root it for
you. Often you find stuff grows best if you leave it alone.
Check every month for roots
in sandy soil put it in a bigger container and I recommend you mix in earth worm castings and/or real
organic compost (buy it from a local organic gardener--do not use the
garbage they sell at Home Depot!).
Big Pots=Big plants
The larger the pot the larger the root system will be. The more roots,
the faster the plant will develop.
To get large root systems you need rich, organic soil that is easy for
roots to grow in. It should have lots of sand or perlite so it
does not compact and cut off air & water. Thick clay soils are bad, but
can be mixed with 50% sand and perlite to become OK. If you grow in a
large container always go with 50% perlite to help avoid soil
compaction (hard soil).
San Pedro wants to grow to tree size unless you
restrict the roots in a pot. You know how Bonsai works? To achieve
huge plants you need to put them in the earth so the roots can grow as
large as they wish. Dig a big hole and
back fill it with mixed sand, perlite, and compost. Then top mulch your
continuously with at least 2" of organic compost. Get earth worms
living in the soil around the San Pedro.